All of a sudden, only for the past... oh... say, maybe three days, my DSL connection is dropping... after pretty much flawless service for years.
Sometimes it happens while I'm using it, right in the middle of an email download, or surfing, etc.; but mostly it happens if the machine just sits there, on and connected, but me not sitting at the keyboard doing anything. In other words, I'll sit down at the computer (which is already on and logged-in to), and I'll try to hit a web page, or download email, and it just stalls out... can't seem to connect to the web site or mail servers.
Then I look down at the lights on the DSL modem, and the activity light's not doing anything, and the Internet light is dark, and the DSL light may be green, or it may be red... just depends. Most of the time, the DSL light ultimately starts flashing red, even if it was solid green when I first looked down at it.
So then I reach around behind and unplug power, wait 10 or so seconds, and reconnect. The DSL modem goes through all the normal training and the DSL light flashes red, then green, then stays green; then the Internet light comes on; and then if I try again to hit a web site the activity light starts flashing and the site appears (though sometimes after failing such that I have to close the browser, relaunch it, and try again... which, at that point, always seems to succeed).
So then it runs for a while... sometimes an hour or two, sometimes the rest of the day and/or evening (there seems no pattern to it)...
...and then even the next morning (if I leave the machine on all night), it's still fine when I try to hit something in the browser, and it lets me download email okay; and it may even run most of the day like that, just fine, before it finally fails again... and then it's a repeat of the above.
Today (Sat 29 Jan 2011) has been particularly bad, for some reason. The machine was on and Internet-connected all night, as usual. I sat down at the machine and tried to hit a site and it just wouldn't go. The activity light was dark, the Internet light was dark, but the DSL light was solid green...
...though, about a half minute later, before my eyes, it started flashing red. And, again, I unplugged DSL modem power, waited 10 seconds, reconnected, watched it try to train...
...only this time, it failed. The DSL light stayed flashing red.
So I unplugged again; waited 10 seconds; reconnected and watched it try to train-up... and this time it succeeded.
But it has inexplicably failed again two or three more times since then today...
...hence the reason I'm finally here, seeking some help.
It's a regular AT&T DSL line (not U-verse); at 1.5Mbps-down/384Kbps-up.
I've checked speed today -- twice -- using two or three different speed test tools, and connecting with New Jersey, Chicago and San Francisco...
...and all of my speeds are pretty much what they have always been, which is around 1.2Mbps to 1.3Mbps down, and 280Kbps to 320Kbps up... which is pretty much all that this location has ever been able to achieve on this account.
My CO is NAPACA01 located at 1300 Clay St, Napa, CA, 94559. As the crow flies, I'm maybe 2.5 to perhaps 3 miles from the CO. Who knows how many actual cable feet that is.
The connection is good analog copper from the CO to me, with no digital duplexing devices anywhere in the circuit. In fact, when I first ordered the service back in... I think it was 2003... I asked for more than a mere turn-on at the CO, and I insisted that a tech come out to the premises and we stood there and tested pairs until we found the quietest and best. So it's been a fairly decent connection from the beginning... and always reliable, in any case.
I've also walked the property and physically inspected the lines to make sure that nothing physical has happened. Phone service is good, with no strange sounds in the white noise when I clear dialtone. Everything seems fine on that score.
It's also not the router (though I checked all its settings, and rebooted it a time or two, just for grins). The Ethernet light on the DSL modem never goes dark during any of this. There's always a good connection between the DSL modem and the router.
And the DSL modem seems fine (though it is the second one, the first one having gone bad for some reason in 2008).
I also, just to be thorough, swapped-out the DSL filter with a brand new one that I happened to have in a box, still sealed in its blister packaging. The problem persists.
Heck, I even repaired/rebuilt TCP/IP in Windows, just for grins (even though I knew that that had nothing whatsoever to do with whatever is the problem).
I also use OpenDNS instead of AT&T's DNS, but that's not configured in the DSL modem. That's happening in the router; and this problem has nothing to do with that, in any case. The DNS that I use wouldn't have anything to do with the DSL modem's DSL light starting to flash red and completely losing the connection. But I thought I'd mention it, just to be thorough.
Though I concede that maybe it could be the DSL modem going bad again (though I doubt it), my gut from 33 years in IT and telecom suggests to me that this is a line/carrier issue of some kind...
...though, obviously, that's what I'm here to have someone help me investigate/confirm/deny, etc.
Allowing myself to be guided by this...
»AT&T West FAQ
» What information do you need in order to help me with my DSL problem?
...here are my answers to those questions:
DSL TYPE: Express 1.5Mbps/384Kbps
DSL MODEM TYPE: Motorola 2210-02
ROUTER: D-Link EBR 2310 (wired, with four-port switch) (believe me, the router's not the problem)
DSL MODEM LOGIN INFO: In the DSL modem (and it's correct)
DSL MODEM LIGHTS: Details are above, but basically the activity light goes stops flickering and goes dark; then the Internet light goes from solid green to dark; and then, finally, the DSL light goes from solid green to flashing red. The Ethernet light always stays solid green, as does the Power light.
PHYSICAL CONNECTIONS and FILTER: All fine... as indicated above, I not only checked them, but I swapped-out the filter with a new one; and I even physically walked the property to make sure that nothing has obviously happened to the wires running from the house out to the telephone pole.
POWERED OFF/ON THE DSL MODEM: Yes, as explained above, every time it has happened, I power off, wait 10 (or more) seconds, then power back on... and every time but one it trained-up normally and resumed just fine. Only once did it not so do, and I simply powered-off/on again, and it finally trained-up okay and resumed normally. And speeds, after each time, are fine.
PHONE LINE NOISE: None. Sounds like it always has both with dialtone, and if I clear it and just listen to the white noise by pressing a DTMF key. I also called a friend who knows telephony and asked him if he could hear anything, and he said the line sounded fine. And the DSL filter's obviously working, because I can't hear the DSL noise on the regular analog phone line with the telephone handset.
STATISTICS FROM THE DSL MODEM (all of the tables):
Line State Up
Data Path Fast
To Modem To Internet
Max Allowed Speed (kbps) 1536 384
SN Margin (dB) 16.0 21.0
Line Attenuation (dB) 9.0 4.0
Loss of Signal 0 0
Loss of Frame 0 0
CRC Errors 0 1
VPI / VCI 0/35
In Octets 14987525
In Errors 0
In Unicast Packets 15001
In Non Unicast Packets 0
In Discard Packets 0
Out Octets 2562268
Out Errors 0
Out Unicast Packets 12860
Out Non Unicast Packets 0
Out Discard Packets 0
Session Status: Up
Server MAC Address: 00:02:3b:02:a7:30
Session ID: 49380
Internet Address 126.96.36.199
Internet Gateway 188.8.131.52
DNS Servers 184.108.40.206 dnsr1.sbcglobal.net
Address Netmask Name
192.168.1.254 255.255.255.0 Ethernet 100BT
Destination Netmask Gateway Interface
- - 220.127.116.11 WAN vcc1
192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.254 Ethernet 100BT
Modem IP Address 192.168.1.254
Modem Netmask 255.255.255.0
DHCP Address 192.168.1.64
Devices on LAN
IP Address MAC Address Name Status
192.168.1.64 00:1c:f0:c3:34:c3 OpenDNS.org Active
MAC Address 00:1d:6b:88:17:28
In Octets 15115686
In Errors 0
In Unicast Packets 14992
In Non Unicast Packets 3369
In Discard Packets 0
Out Octets 2406216
Out Errors 0
Out Unicast Packets 12825
Out Non Unicast Packets 68
Out Discard Packets 0
...and I can provide the technicial readout, or the log, or the configuration page, or whatever.
SPEED TEST RESULTS: For some reason the AT&T speed test site says it's "In Maintenance" at the moment; but I've tested using several sites today, and they all show about the same thing, as explained earlier, herein, and that's just under 1.3Mbps down, and just under 300Kbps up, which is pretty much what it has always been. I just did it again at SPEEDTEST.NET and here are the links...
Napa, CA to San Francisco
Napa, CA to Los Angeles
Napa, CA to Chicago
PINGTEST.NET - Napa, CA to Los Angeles
PINGTEST.NET - Napa, CA to Chicago
If there's anyone here who works for AT&T who'd like to actually test the line with me, just email me and we can set it up...
gregg at greggdeselms dot com
Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone?